What synthesizers do you own?

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What synthesizers do you own?

Postby Dsnow » 04:05, 16 March 2010

Synthesizer enthusiasts unite!

I though this might be most appropriate place to put this topic, because I want to know- what synthesizers (of any brand) do you own/work with? Theres just so much lovely gear out there I figure theres gotta be a few people on this board with some impressive collections.

So, for roland I own a Juno-G and an SH201, which I picked up fairly recently. My band owns a Korg R3, (singer had a microkorg, we decided to trade that in for the R3, smart choice) and a Moog Little Phatty. Absolutely terrible name, but as far as getting the classic analog fatness of moog filters on the cheap, its great. The bass that thing can spit out is just unbelievable in its heavyness... while I can get more interesting and unique bass sounds out of my roland gear they just cant match the thickness and heavyness of the moog.

For older stuff, Ive got a Korg Lambda. Its what they called a 'polyphonic ensemble' synth. Analog, and while you cant really get into the good parts of editing your sounds, some of the patches are really quite warm- some really lush and warm string sounds. Ive also got a Korg DS8- a real oddball. An FM synthesizer that doesnt really operate in the somewhat obtuse way alot early FMs did, but rather is setup more like a typical subtractive synth. Alot of people seem to write this guy off, but with some time spent editing it can create really unique and totally original sounds than my newer gear could never hope to duplicate. Unfortunately the memory has appeared to gone haywire in the last month and I havent had time to find a solution.

So thats me. What have you owned over the years, and what did you like/dislike about them. Please share, I love any and all synth-nerd talk!
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby Artemiy » 07:26, 16 March 2010

Well, you can read about which synths I have and used to have in my profile.

Right now I have a V-Synth with D-50 card and a Fantom-G. On my Mac I use NI MASSIVE and many different effect plugins, as well as some plugins that I wrote myself. Oh and lately there appeared a couple very nice synths for Apple's iDevices, one of them is Jasuto which is a modular synth and Argon which is a classic VA synth, both are pretty damn good.

I used to have a Polivoks analog synth and I regret selling it - I think in terms of basses it would eat any Moog for breakfast ;-) It was not as smooth and delicate as Moogs can be, but it was so raw and rough, with such massively dense sound, man... I only sold it as I could not use it due to space limitations, and it weighed like 20 kg or so.
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby dbijoux » 08:42, 16 March 2010

I think selling gear regrets could be an ongoing theme in this thread. My first synth was a Kawaii K5000w I picked up on clearance. Being namely a guitarist, I got rid of it in a financial downturn(isn't that what they like to call it now?). The thing is, it's never worth it once the money runs out. Even so, the board really only discouraged my electronic bend.. The combination of Additive Synthesis and noob was a recipe(disaster) for only just a few ambient pieces, but the keybed and layered orchestra made for some great imaginary Strauss moments. In retrospect, I really wonder what that thing could do if I opened her up and they are exceedingly rare to find now.

I guess my first keyboard was an old air-driven organ my family had that I never could get as much as a tune out of, but am certain it would be of some use today. Then there's the player piano that my grandparents had - step sequencing at it's finest.

Lately, I've been focused on the Juno-G. It's all that it's cracked up to be and still manages to throw a few pleasant surprises. The Fantom engine is smooth like margarine and the rather minimal features are exactly what I need. It might not be a Moog or Polyvoks, but with some finesse and layering it can get somethings done. I think that discussion will be fading soon tho, with all the people using VSTs now, hopefully the prices fall too.

All the better, because I still have some latent analog gear lust and a lot of catching up to do with the 'real' synth nerds. Now, I just need a warehouse and studio to store them in.

C'est la vie.
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby Artemiy » 08:58, 16 March 2010

dbijoux, I think the massive switch to software has ended and hardware popularity is gaining some new momentum. It's not that hardware is vastly different, I mean, it's still a computer with control surfaces built around it, but the overall tactile feel and feedback of knobs/sliders/buttons, and the instant playability is still what wins over simple features-per-price ratio.

In my entire life I bought only one software synth. Just one. That is NI MASSIVE. And it's not because I am really tight on the budget for this (after all I am earning money in this field), I could have bought others but I prefer to limit myself and concentrate on one tool, trying to squeeze every little bit out of it.

Lately I was planning to get some more synths and effects but alas they do not turn me on much... Even those little iPod synths are more fun to use due to the finger-touch interface (and yes you can use up to 5 fingers on the surface, while the mouse only has one pointer). So I plan to save up and get more hardware instead, likely even analog hardware. It's nice that these days we have quite a good selection of it, since many companies went back to their roots.

Oh by the way, JUNO-G rocks ;-) It's one of my most beloved Roland synths. And it's very capable.
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby dbijoux » 13:00, 16 March 2010

I have to disagree, I think it's quite the opposite. Albeit, the usefulness of hardware and the tactile appeal isn't going to go away anytime soon. Even old school engineers are heading ITB and it's not a far stretch from there that a VST is 100x more convenient. Other indications include drop in prices of old synths across the board.

Without mention, new producers are coming out of bedrooms, not major studios. There they cut their teeth on a playstation, moved up to cracked Fruity Loops, and still don't have a proper set of monitors. Ok, I may be overgeneralizing but kids don't use hardware.

Maybe there is a new rush, certainly you have a vested interest in such. Of course your opinion has validity, but couldn't it be influenced by your environment?

Even your experience points towards a minimal setup in limited space. Ahh, I don't think there is a rule anyways. It seems to me there will always be some balance to the equation and, on the flipside, computers need just as much hardware. Although, as you've pointed out - that's getting smaller.

I saw the Tenori-On just made it into AMS's catalog. That looks like a fun piece of kit.
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby Artemiy » 13:44, 16 March 2010

dbijoux, the bottom line is that neither me or you have 100% exact statistics, and possibly nobody has! You can't poll more than a few percent of total musicians, and then it's impossible to judge whether he is pro or hobbyist or somewhere in between...

Obviously what is cheaper is going to sell more copies. So of course there are 10x or maybe even 100x more software instruments on computers than dedicated hardware instruments. But most of that software went into hobbyist/amateur market I think, in the pro market I think the % of hardware instrument owners is way bigger.

5 years ago there was more new software appearing than today, and less new dedicated hardware than today. And as I said that now the balance has changed - not flipped, but changed notably. At least for one cool software release I can name 3-4 new cool pieces of hardware. A few years ago that wouldn't have been the case.
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby PauloF » 16:39, 16 March 2010

So... Let's see

- V-Synth XT --> this is my main synth, in both V-synth and D50 modes, solo and poly synths, arp sounds, pulsating
- SonicCell - guitars, strings, Pianos
- Fantom Xa - Drums, Pianos, guitars, strings, basses, organs
- Native's - Massive, AbSynth4, FM8, Pro-53 and Guitar Combos
- Cakewalk's - Dimension 5

Jus t for the record: I barely use the NI softsynths, oly FM8 and Pro-53 in a couple of songs
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby Artemiy » 16:41, 16 March 2010

Hehe Paulo, Roland and NI seem to fit together nicely don't they? ;-)
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby PauloF » 16:54, 16 March 2010

Art, they do !

My only problem is the FM8... I'm unable to properly sync it with the other gear... Not enough options (only internal clock...)
:-(
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby Dsnow » 18:03, 16 March 2010

Artemiy - too bad you dont still have that polivolks man! Ive only heard recordings and never gotten to play with one, but I love the sharp, angular sound of it, and Ive heard that they are built like a tank! Its such a unique instrument and I hope to one day get my hands on one.

dbijoux, I bet that Kawaii was pretty sweet, but definitely a tough starting point. Ive only owned hardware for about 5 years, so Ive fortunately never been in the position that I need to sell something, and as long as Ive got room I dont want to!


Hmm... well, for the whole software vs. hardware debate, I've spent time on both sides doing very different styles of music. Both have their place, and while software has really come into its own in the last decade, it will never fully replace hardware. You have to consider the different approaches to using electronic sounds, which often varies dependant on the genre a person is working in.

A dance music producer working with a sequencer like reason or FL or Ableton might find that a few VSTs and a cheap midi keyboard covers everything they need. These days a person can (and people do all the time) produce a professional dance floor hit using nothing but a laptop. Considering also the prevalent use of samples and sequenced patterns rather than performances, and the convenience and ease of software really starts to make sense.

On the other hand, the way a synth is used in a live rock band is very different, and has changed a lot over the years. From being new and innovative in the 70s, commonplace and overused (sometimes abused) in the 80s, to banished in the 90s, the synth has come back to hold a place of esteem in a lot of styles of rock music, both indie and popular. I think Artemiy is right in that there has definitely been an upswing in the variety and availability of hardware synthesizers and its to target this group of musicians. For them, the idea of using a sequencer to program patterns, or loading a piece of software into a VST host and then setting up a MIDI interface seems foreign and unnecessary. They want to turn a keyboard on, push a few buttons and tweak some knobs while the guitarist tunes and then rock out with the band.

So comparing say an electro-house producer working on an ableton based studio in his tiny apartment to a keyboardist playing in a 5 piece dance punk band at a local club, the needs are very different. Both VSTs and hardware synths have their markets and neither has superiority over the other.
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby Artemiy » 18:38, 16 March 2010

I really do regret selling Polivoks... but I bought it back in the day when we had a smaller apartment than today, and also our second kid on the way, so both space and money was an issue... What causes even more heart ache is that the one I had was in virtually virgin condition... Now I want to commit a suicide! :-)

The only thing that does make me feel better is that still it was pretty limited. I mean, it was only good for bass and synth sounds that could knock your windows and doors the hell out, but if you wanted something gentle, well, you know, how can an atomic bomb possibly be gentle? :-)

BTW the Fantom-G Analogies and Fantom-X Planet A libraries were made out of the sounds that I created on Polivoks! You can check out a demo here to hear how massively it sounds even sampled (discard the polyphonic demos as the Polivoks itself is obviously monophonic):
http://www.sinevibes.com/media/40/Analogies%20Demo.mp3
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby Dsnow » 20:09, 16 March 2010

You know I like the limitations of some earlier synthesizers, it gives them a certain character. While analog modellers are great because of their versatility, often a 'niche' synthesizer really excels at what it does or does it in a really unique way.

I find the moog little phatty to be simillar to what you described with the polivoks in that is can make chest rattleling bass and tearing leads, but it cant produce anything with subtle textures or soft overtones (it is monophonic after all). The leads and basses on my korg ds8 sound thin and flimsy, but with some work it can create some really unique, textural, modulated pads that sound completely unlike any other synth Ive worked with.

I actually find alot of earlier digital synths have really interesting character, because digital synthesis was so new and manufacturers were trying out some many different things. I always keep my eye out in hopes of scoring something good on the cheap.

btw, that demo sounded great! I think I would have ALOT of fun with that machine.
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby Artemiy » 20:36, 16 March 2010

Couldn't agree more on limitations - they let you 1) to concentrate easier, 2) to try to break the limits and develop new tricks.
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby KRE8A » 02:19, 18 March 2010

Hi guy s !
Sorry if I have interrupted an argument or the talk to talk. I just want to fulfill my assets in this sector.
I own - JVC - KB700 keyboard / JP - 8000 synth keyboard / Juno - G / MC-909 / `and the DJX11 synth keyboard. The DJX is excellent for Dance music exercises and practice. This is what I love about this synth. I don't use it for recording or any other purpose. Maybe at a later dater, I will record with as it has midi ports. However, I love using all of my instruments equally, when experimenting / practicing / playing.
About software:- I think the real tradesman is a musicians who can use / play with music Hardware and software. Utilizing both is the way of developing ideas on top of ideas.
I like using logic for mastering and spicing up sounds from the Juno - G, if necessary. I will be including my other instruments, once I'm up to date with my projects.

Dsnow !
I know that you posted this topic as ` What synthesizers do you own? - I can't help it ! Sometimes I have to babble about other things also :D I tend to go off the subject at times, respectively. Anyway>, see ya guys. You can all go back to debating, arguing, talking - whatever; LOL d:?)
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Re: What synthesizers do you own?

Postby piaknowguy » 11:36, 18 March 2010

Controlled by 2 X Edirol UM-880's -

Roland SC-55
Roland SC-88VL
Roland R-8M
Roland D-110 expanded

- The entire SN-U110 sound library
Roland U-220
Roland JV-880
Roland JV-1080 expanded

-SR-JV80-01 Pop
-SR-JV80-10 Bass and Drum
-SR-JV80-99 Experience
-SR-JV80-13 Vocal

Roland JV-1080 expanded
- SR-JV80-05 World
- SR-JV80-01 Pop
- SR-JV80-04 Vintage Synth
- SR-JV80-16 Orchestral II

Roland JV-2080 expanded
- SR-JV80-10 Bass and Drum
- SR-JV80-02 Orchestral
- SR-JV80-11 Techno
- SR-JV80-09 Session
- SR-JV80-15 Special FX
- SR-JV80-12 Hip Hop
- SR-JV80-07 Super Sound Set
- SR-JV80-14 Asia

Roland JV-3080 expanded
- SR-JV80-06 Dance
- SR-JV80-17 Country
- SR-JV80-18 Latin
- SR-JV80-19 House
- SRX-12 Classic EPs

Roland Fantom XR expanded
- SRX-02 Concert Piano
- SRX-03 Studio
- SRX-04 Symphonic Strings
- SRX-09 World Collection
- SRX-98 Analog Essentials
- SRX-08 Platinum Trax
- SRX-10 Brass

Roland Fantom X8 expanded
- SRX-06 Complete Orchestra
- SRX-07 Ultimate Keys
- SRX-05 Supreme Dance
- SRX-01 Dynamic Drum Kits

Roland Fantom G8 expanded
- ARX-01Drums
-ARX-02 Electric Piano
-ARX-03 Brass

Roland VP-7 Vocal Processor
Roland Integra 7


Previously owned
- Yamaha DX-7
- Korg Poly 61(X2)
- Roland Juno 60 (and 'Yes', I'm a complete idiot!)
- Kurzweil PC 88
- Fantom FA 76
- Roland XP 80
- Roland XV-88


Cheers!
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